Friday, October 28, 2011

Should Christians Observe Halloween? (& 20 alternative ways to celebrate)

Oh, how I love this time of year!

Here in the Carolinas, the weather is like heaven - cool and crisp in the mornings, and warm and gorgeous in the afternoons. Yet, although I love the fall, and all the colorful foliage that comes with it, I have to admit that I do not love the holiday celebrated in October.

Just so you do not think that I am a complete party-pooper-prude about Halloween, I will share that I have always allowed my children to go trick or treating, returning home weighted down with their candy treasures. We have seventeen years of pictures of all of them dressed up in their cute, shiny costumes, with little fingers wrapped tightly around the handles of their orange, plastic pumpkins.

I love having my children's friends come over for Halloween, and some of our adult friends, while we cook chili, enjoy a bonfire, and hand out candy to all the sweet faces that come to our door.

But even though it is fun, I am always glad when Halloween is behind us, because in all honesty, I really do not like this holiday at all ..... for several reasons:

Reason # 1:  I despise spiders, and they are every size.. in every furry eight-legged species.... in every store during the month of October! Yuck. Ewww. Double yuck.

Reason # 2: I despise scary movies. Why would I want to watch something that makes me terrified to go to bed at night? Even some of the television commercials during the weeks leading up to Halloween often leave me feeling like I need to sleep with the lights on.

Reason # 3:  The retail industry is getting rich from selling cheaply made, over-priced costumes, most of which are entirely inappropriate for children (and adults for that matter!)

Reason # 4: I have always struggled with whether or not God would really approve of His beloved children participating in the celebration.

The first three reasons simply expose that I have a weak stomach for spiders, blood and gore.

But the fourth reason always causes me to question whether or not I should celebrate at all, considering my allegiance to Christ. Even if we consider Halloween to be nothing more than an evening of innocent fun, there is no denying that it started from pagan and demonic rituals.

Although scripture does not specifically address the commercialized holiday we call Halloween, it does provide insight into whether or not God would approve.  There are countless references in the Bible attesting to the fact that pagan idol worship, and any behavior that condoned or promoted satanic or demonic practices, were not only frowned upon by God, but forbidden, and many times punishable by death.

Let's state the obvious fact that most of you may be thinking - "It is not evil or demonic to dress up in a fun costume and go trick or treating, or host a party for friends!"  I completely agree. However,  there are anti-Christian costumes, decorations and festivities that promote the dark side of the spiritual realm, which are certainly unacceptable in God's eyes.

So, what is a Christian to do? Is it possible to celebrate Halloween without compromising our faith?  I believe the answer is yes, as long as we remember to do everything we do, as unto the Lord, as we are instructed in Colossians 3:17.  We are called to be in the world, but not of the world, so we can choose to be involved in Halloween, without being a part of Halloween, that promotes the dark side. 

For example, I have always chosen costumes for my children based on fairy tale characters, books, sports, movies, etc., as opposed to demons, devils, witches with warts, dripping blood, or masks worn by mass murderers. My kids know full well, even though they are now teenagers, that if a costume even looks to be in the demonic category - or if even one drip of fake red blood is visible - not to even waste their words by asking to wear it.

But regardless of our personal beliefs on how to celebrate, it is just as important that we respect and consider other points of view.

Romans 14 instructs us to respect each others opinions in all areas of life, and without passing judgement. In regards to Halloween, we are each to decide for ourselves how we want to celebrate this fall holiday, and follow our own convictions about how we observe it, without condemning those who choose a different way than us.

For those of us who are not into skulls, snakes, red eyed rats, bloody makeup and headless yard art, I thought I would offer some food for thought (or should I say candy corn pumpkins for thought - my fave!). Smiles.

Here are a few family-friendly ideas for you to consider doing during this years Halloween celebrations.

* Purchase costumes that do not portray something that God would not be supportive of
* Host an Unhalloween celebration - get creative about doing things opposite from the typical halloween celebrations
* Seek out local farms or parks who are offering hay rides and bonfires and spend the evening there instead of trick or treating
* Visit a corn maze
* Have a pumpkin carving party with the winner being the one who has the happiest face; offer a small prize or candy for most joyful pumpkin
* If you don't want to give the kids a carving knife, buy lots of colors of paint, and have them paint on the faces instead
* Check local listings for holiday celebrations at churches
* Throw an orange and black party - ask all guests to wear orange and black, and/or bring a dessert or appetizer that consists primarily of those colors

* Decorate your home with fall colors and festive leaves and wreaths
* Host a Bible character dress up contest
* Pass out some Christian tracts, or small New Testaments, instead of candy
* Have a family meeting before hand, and brainstorm some fun new ways to celebrate or do something different on Halloween night
* Decide upon some fun, new snacks to make, like popcorn balls, a special baked item, or a Halloween themed cake or treat, and have a family cooking night
* Plan a progressive Halloween party with a group of friends.
* Have a themed party, like a "Noah's Ark" party; have the guests come in animal or character costumes; make a cake that looks like a boat; offer animal crackers and goldfish.
* Carve pumpkins for a nursing home and deliver with lighted candles on Halloween
* Make pumpkin bread as a family, or any pumpkin snacks (check out
Leann Rices She Cooks website for some awesome pumpkin-flavored ideas that she has shared this month!)
* Go to a pumpkin patch; come home on and watch the Charlie Brown "Its The Great Pumpkin" cartoon
* Have a big bonfire outside in the back yard, and roast marshmallows and hot dogs.

In whatever ways you choose to celebrate, have a happy and safe Halloween!

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Laura Rath said...

Hi Tracie, I've never liked Halloween much, for mostly the same reasons you listed. As a kid, my mom gave my sister and I a choice - trick-or-treat, or we could choose a bag of candy at the store. We liked the 2nd choice. Now my daughter gets to choose a bag of candy and we try to do something fun on beggar's night, like a movie or family game night. Just another option.

Raspberrymama said...

Hi Tracie!
Your post reflects my feeling about Halloween through and through!! One of the things that we have done to make that day more focused on the Lord is to let the 31st mark the beginning of our Christmas music season! My kids are more excited about getting to listen to Christmas music than they are about the Trunk or Treat at our church later that evening! =)

Waugh Family said...

Hi Tracie, I agree with everything written, especially the love of the Carolina's weather (I'm from the OBX and moving to Charleston AFB next year!!) & the hatred of the awful 8 legged creatures! I thought I would share with you my cousin-in-law's Facebook status on halloween (she and her husband are presbyterian ministers)
As you get dressed up, visit friends and neighbors, and collect a stash of goodies, remember that you are making a statement. All Hallow's Eve pokes fun of the threat of death and the nastiness of life that tries to pull us down. By celebrating, you are saying, "Evil holds no power over me, for I am God's. Nothing is more powerful than God's love, not even death itself."

And I agree even more with loving when it's over!! Bring on Thanksgiving!!

with love, ashley